Shady behaviour might be part of the Grand Theft Auto DNA, but leaking video game trailers on TikTok before launch is probably not what developers had in mind. Especially not when it can be traced back to a senior Rockstar developer’s son.
The fact that fans will need to wait more than a year for the next instalment in the GTA saga (or, as one viewer close to the author expressed this morning, “2025 just means not 2024”) did not diminish the enthusiasm when Rockstar Games released the GTA VI trailer in the early hours of Tuesday CET.
Our trailer has leaked so please watch the real thing on YouTube: https://t.co/T0QOBDHwBe
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) December 4, 2023
Vice City looks slicker than ever indeed. However, Rockstar released the trailer to the public some hours earlier than intended. The reason? The leaking of an off-cam clip of the footage to TikTok over the weekend and a subsequent leak of the trailer on X on Monday. Plot twist — the TikTok user in question has reportedly been identified as the son of a senior Rockstar North employee.
Rockstar North, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, has been part of the Rockstar Games family since 1999 and is responsible for the development of the Grand Theft Auto series. The evidence that the seven-second TikTok leak came from a developer’s family member has been labelled by some social media users as “fairly convincing.”
Reportedly, it involves the TikTok user posing with the Rockstar employee and calling them “dad.” But as the TikTok (it is a noun, right?) has been deleted, this shall have to remain second-hand speculation on our part. Of course, it could all be a part of a deceitful ruse to deflect culpability, in keeping with the spirit of the game.
The evidence to suggest the video has come from someone related to the employee in question is fairly convincing.
Again, if this is true it’s extremely disappointing that this has occurred so close to the official reveal.
— GTABase.com (@GTABase) December 2, 2023
In another noteworthy turn of events, the trailer revealed that GTA VI will feature the game’s first female protagonist (Bonnie and Clyde storylines FTW). Rockstar Games says it will be released on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S.
Other notable vide game leaks
Leaks to social media are not unusual in the gaming world. A prototype of Horizon Forbidden West was leaked to Twitter one week before its release. A Russian website published a version of the script to Mass Effect 3 before the game’s official release in March 2012 (although we cannot see the appeal of reading it — it would be like sneaking a peek at your Christmas presents before they are wrapped).
However, it is unusual for leaks to come from such intimate sources, and so close to the official release. Whoever may prove to be behind the leaks, let’s hope the repercussions are more akin to being grounded than ending up in jail, like the last teenagers who messed with Rockstar and GTA.